Business owners have found that business Internet phone in place of traditional long distance telephone services cuts back on phone costs while maintaining the same, if not better, communication means.
It’s important that business owners find ways to cut back on overhead costs in order to increase profits. “Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field” (Ecclesiastes 5:9). With long distance costing an upwards of 15 cents per minute, it’s not wonder that so many business owners are looking into the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) alternative. For companies that use long distance frequently and already pay for a broadband Internet connection, it makes sense to give this new technology a try. When VoIP technology first became a marketable reality in 2004, there were many skeptics, but in the past four years, Internet phone service has come a long way and many of the problems are nearly resolved. This is why company owners might want to take a look at the possibility of switching over.
Cost has been the primary appeal of the business Internet phone option. Businesses who work with a large number of clients beyond the local area code can spend thousands of dollars per month on long distance phone calls. This is in addition to the normal monthly fees charged by the phone company. Plus, most businesses pay for an Internet connection as well. The average broadband connection costs around $50 per month. With VoIP services, the long distance dime counting is eliminated and replaced with a monthly fee. With many new companies offering these services, prices can vary. Typically, though, a package with unlimited long distance and local calls is less than $100 per month. Many companies even include special features in that price such as fax, call forwarding, and voicemail. Thus, a company that spends an average of $550 per month on telephone service with broadband Internet can cut this bill down to a mere $150 per month or less. Of course, there are other one-time costs associated with VoIP services. Depending on what the service provider requires, the customer may need to purchase a special VoIP phone or a router. Even after adding in these purchases, the savings could still be phenomenal.
Naturally, no service is perfect, so Internet phone service does have its disadvantages. As mentioned before, a router may be necessary. The router allows the user to utilize both the phone and the computer Internet connection at once. Setting up the router and the VoIP software (when applicable) can be handled by an IT person if the business has one. Otherwise, the business manager or an employee will have to become familiar with the equipment and software. Another disadvantage is power failure. Should the power go out, the phone will also. To avoid this, the business can invest in a small generator or maintain a normal telephone connection. In the event of a power failure, any incoming calls could be forwarded to the telephone line. Connecting to 911 has been the most controversial criticism of VoIP from its beginning. However, FCC regulations and technological improvements have mostly solved this problem. Now most VoIP connections are attached to an address which is sent to 911 when a call is made in an emergency. So long as the owner makes sure that the address with 911 is accurate, there should be little need for concern. Another past disadvantage has been a clear connection using VoIP. Many customers complained of this problem early on. However, most companies have eliminated this problem, and calls are predominantly clear with no delays.
Choosing the right business Internet phone company can be simple if customers compare prices, consider customer service, and choose an established company. New VoIP companies are always popping up, looking to make a fast buck in this booming industry. The company of choice should have a solid reputation. Some of the best options are those companies which began the VoIP market several years ago. Even the major telephone companies are offering their own versions of VoIP to keep long-time customers. Those customers considering keeping the telephone company may want to first compare prices and recall past customer service experiences. If the telephone company has a history of making frequent sales calls and charging hidden fees, it may be time to kick them to the curb. This is not to say that Internet phone service exclusive companies are angels. Customers will need to look online at reviews for different services to see what complaints current or former customers have made. Complaints about service and repairs can warn potential customers to steer clear. Comparing prices is also important, but the business owner will need to first outline what services he needs. Fax, call forwarding, voicemail, and a host of other services can be packaged together. Therefore, it’s smart to get prices on all of these services from several companies for a balanced comparison.